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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

REPENT! REPENT! Time for the "Other Lent"

or, you could say, "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

(Click to go to the Vatican's Advent site.)

Today marks the beginning of the "other lent." Despite the festive stores and multiple holiday parties, advent is a time for preparing yourself for the Christmas Octave, especially through mortification.

Read this cite from The Catechism Explained:
The four weeks of Advent represent the 4000 years during which the coming of the Messias was expected. the Immaculate conception occurs most suitably in Advent, the eighth of December, for at the birth of Christ the Sun of justice rose upon the world, dispelling the darkness of sin and ignorance; Mary was like the aurora (Cant. vi. 9), heralding the coming day.

The Byzantines echo the idea, although they have a fast that has begun, they later have "The Sunday of Preparation":
Bethlehem, make ready, for Eden has opened for all; Ephrata, be alert, for the Tree of Life has blossomed forth from the Virgin in the cave. Her womb has become a spiritual paradise wherein the divine Fruit was planted -- and if we eat of it, we shall live and not die like Adam. Christ is coming forth to bring back to life the likeness that had been lost in the beginning.

On on the Feast of Immaculate Conception (Maternity of Anne):
Today the great mystery which has been announced from eternity, whose depth angels and human beings cannot gauge, appears in the arms of Anne; Mary, the Maiden of God is prepared to be the dwelling of the King of Eternity, who will renew our human nature. Let us entreat her with a pure conscience and say: "Intercede for us with Christ your son and our God, the He may save our souls, for you are the intercessor."

We all need a Savior -- not just generally for the ultimate end of our souls, but also specifically, for the little faults of which we are aware. It may be something simple like idleness, or something difficult like challenging some aspect of one's chief fault.

No matter what, we should turn to Mary, our Mother. Lately, we celebrated her entrance into the temple (presentation of Mary). And in a few days, we will celebrate her Immaculate Conception. She is the star that leads us to Christ. Or, as is sung in a coming Sunday, "the ladder of Heaven has been set up" -- she is the Ladder to Heaven.

Perhaps, today, among all the other things you have to do, you might turn to Mary for but a moment and ask her "Good Mother, what can I do to be ready? teach me to watch for your Son."